Selective culling of Iberian red deer stags (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) by selective montería in Spain
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- Torres-Porras, J., Carranza, J. & Pérez-González, J. Eur J Wildl Res (2009) 55: 117. doi:10.1007/s10344-008-0225-4
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Hunting can affect animal populations not only by increasing mortality but also by introducing selection components associated with particular features of individuals. In addition to the most widespread hunting system in Spain for Iberian red deer stags (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) called montería, there are also selective monterías aimed at culling poor-trophy males in order to improve the average quality of the trophies for commercial hunt. This way of removing poor-trophy males contrasts with the most common procedure of shooting individual males by selective stalking that is used in other areas of Europe. Also, due to the hunting procedure by which most deer are shot while running chased by dogs, it is doubtful whether hunters are actually producing a selective impact on deer populations. In this paper, we compare data of males shot in commercial montería and in selective montería in Southern Spain. We found that males in selective montería were smaller in body size and in antler size than in commercial hunts, even correcting by age, although the selective effect was stronger at some ages. We discuss the implications of this practice for sustainable use and conservation.